HE surely dreamed of great glories when he was a lad in Redding, the mining village outside Polmont, but George Mulhall could never have imagined that one day he would become the local hero in Halifax.

None the less, that is what this itinerant football man has achieved this year after winning the Vauxhall Conference league and thus earning the Yorkshire team a place in the English League proper.

He has been assured that, at 61, he is the oldest manager to have done this, a statement to which he replied: ''I should bloody well hope so.''

From that you will gather that the man from a big family in Redding - his sister still lives there in the family house - has not lost any of the blunt sense of humour that is inherent among mining folk.

However much fun he sees in football, he has shown the Yorkshire worthies that the right man at the right time can achieve great things. Mulhall has been manager for only a season and has managed to end Halifax Town's five-year exile from the league in one exciting year.

''They're building a statue out there to me right now.'' he says, ''But I'll need to check they get the spelling right.''

As a player, a very fine player at that, Mulhall didn't wander a great deal.

He did well enough with Kilsyth Rangers to earn Scotland recognition and attract the attention of Aberdeen, for whom he signed in the early fifties. He was there for close to nine years and, fast and tricky on the wing, became a real favourite with the Pittodrie fans. When he was transferred to Sunderland the fee, pretty stiff in those days, was #25,000.

The Mulhall talents were enjoyed on Wearside just as much as in Aberdeen and he stayed there for seven years before heading for Cape Town where he finished his playing career. ''It was a nice place to live,'' he said, ''although, of course, there were problems with apartheid. I might well have stayed there but my wife wanted to have the kids educated back here.''

If this was a relatively uncomplicated part of the Mulhall career, it gets into serious maze territory from then on, culminating in his arrival at Halifax as youth development officer. Two seasons ago he was offered the manager's post but declined because he was suffering from gout. Now he takes the tablets and has no problems. He took over as manager last year with only a few games to go. ''We escaped relegation by winning our last game 4-2. Then I changed it all around, brought in a lot of new players and here we are back in the league.''

In coaching terms, it is a superb feat by any standards, but Mulhall had paid his dues in the learning stakes.

After his return from South Africa, George had decided to forget about the old ball game and go into business. He had actually agreed a deal to buy a three-storey block in Sunderland, which included a newsagent. The same night the owner phoned him back, pleaded to be let out of the deal as his wife was devastated. George obliged, had hardly put the phone down when he took another call advising him to apply to become assistant manager at Halifax.

He was hired by the team that was at that time, 1971-72, in the third of four divisions. A season later he took over as manager and was there until 1974 when he was persuaded to join Bolton as assistant to Ian Greaves. ''I was there for four years and we had a fine team, with players like Frank Worthington, Peter Reid and Willie Morgan. We missed promotion twice but eventually in 1978 made it into the first division.''

Five months later he succumbed to much persuasion by Bradford City to become their manager but after two-and-a-half years he returned to Bolton. It is about now you can understand why the interviewer was suffering slightly from glazed eyes syndrome.

The sojourn was not as happy in Bolton this time and after 15 months Mulhall decided enough was enough, left the game altogether and bought a newsagent's shop. ''That was bad decision,'' he recalls, unable to stifle a groan, ''Getting up early every morning was murder. I don't mind going to bed early every morning but the early rise was not for me.''

And so football beckoned once again, this time in the tall shape of Worthington who took him as his assistant to Tranmere Rovers. ''That was never a job. The chairman lived in San Francisco for a start.''

Inside another year the wanderlust was upon him again and he became Huddersfield's youth development officer. It was after five-and-a-half years there that he completed the full circle by joining Halifax as their youth leader. He didn't say if he was a bit weary by now but the chronicler certainly was. At any rate Halifax are pretty chuffed that he stayed put for a wee while. The attendances when he took over as team leader last year were around 700. Last week it was nearly 5000.

''The council owned our ground for a while but we have that back now and it has been cleared by the League for our return. We have also started a joint venture with the Rugby League club, Halifax Blue Socks, who are in the Super League, and we will share the stadium.''

The clubs have spent #700,000 on phase one of the renovations at the ground and are now embarking upon the second stage.

When I asked him what his ambition now was he replied: ''To get down to a six handicap.''

At his best he plays off eight but has not had much time to hit a golf ball recently. Is he thinking of retiring? ''I don't know about that. I am under contract here and I expect I will be here next season.''

Are his three children, Neil (38), George (36) and Arlene (27) established English folk? ''No way. The two boys were born in Scotland and the girl in Cape Town. They'll be cheering on Scotland in the World Cup, no danger.''

So, too, will his Aberdeen-born wife, Elizabeth. George is very much aware of his roots, too, even if he has acquired a Scottish accent with a touch of Yorkshire sauce.

''I played in a junior international, three Scottish League internationals and three full internationals. The odd thing is that I only ever played against Ireland or Northern Ireland.''

He will become the oldest manager in the English League next season but they don't seem to give ageism much house room down Halifax way.